Nowadays, London's markets remain a very big part of London's life because they're wonderfully photogenic, serve delicious food and are a great way to support the local community (or find a bargain).
Here are some of our top picks:
Old Spitalfields Market is ancient, famous and the ideal reflection of East London's melting pot of artistic and creative folk. Shop for small indie brands as well as small and large traders and find anything from clothing, jewellery and cooking apparel through to all types of artisan cheeses, speciality coffees and delightful sweets. The market is also a local hub where you can take cooking classes, join in family friendly activities or relax with a yoga lesson.
Broadway Market is a working Victorian market that's buzzing on a weekend with trendy hipsters, young family makers and cool kids. You can find quality products, vintage clothing and homemade organic and vegan foodie treats as well as what's probably the best artisan coffee in town.
Brick Lane Market is chaotic and bustling with street performance artists, antique furniture and kitsch collectibles. It is the perfect place to combine the best curries in town with street art and have a rummage for a variety of products from antique books to chocolate, and leather goods to stunning silks.
Columbia Road's Sunday market transforms an urban street filled with independent shops and art galleries into a green oasis where you can grab every succulent imaginable as well as bedding plants and 10-foot banana trees. The air is filled with the intense scent of flowers and the sounds of stall holders hollering 'everythin' a fiver'.
Walthamstow Market is a whole kilometre long and you can find all types of fruit and veg on a weekday sold by lively local stall holders and pick up a variety of East End classics in the adjacent restaurants from Caribbean fare (the tastiest Ackee and Saltfish in London) to pie and mash or jellied eels (yum). On a Sunday you can find the farmers' market here and buy a variety of organic eggs, fresh juices, artisanal cheeses and homemade bread.
Borough Market needs to be visited on an empty stomach so you can sample the variety of cheeses, olives, breads, pastries and cured meats. You can find British produce at the forefront but you'll also be enchanted by culinary delights from around the world. Borough Market is a riot of colours, smells and human engagement. It's London's oldest food market and the stalls, shops and restaurants reflect London's status as a global city.